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Myths about therapists

Myths About Therapists

In movies and TV shows, therapists are often shown as mysterious and able to instantly  understand people’s minds. They seem cold and reserved only for the “mentally insane”. But that’s not true! Therapists are just like regular people who are trained to help others with their feelings and problems. Despite the growing awareness regarding mental health and emotional wellbeing, there are several misconceptions about therapy and therapists leading to stigma and misunderstanding. In this blog, we aim to demystify these common myths about who they are, what they do and how they do.

Common misconceptions about Therapists:

Therapists are mind readers

Therapists are not like those mind-reading characters in movies or books. They don’t magically know what you’re thinking. Instead, they rely on meticulous analysis and their knowledge garnered over the years of education and practise to understand you better. In therapy, you explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with a therapist. They listen carefully to what you say and ask questions to learn more about you, analyse the blocks with you, and work towards a resolution.

Example : A person with anxiety issues came for therapy expecting to be healed in one session with the help of the therapist. Without delving into the details about himself, he was expecting the therapist to intuitively and imaginatively deduce what the problem was and heal him. Therapy is not a magic wand nor the therapist a wizard. Therapy requires time, space and patience to work. Therapists heavily rely on the information given the clients to work out a treatment plan and goals. 

Therapists have sorted lives

The notion that therapists lead perfect lives is a myth that often arises due to the expectation that they have all the answers to life’s challenges. However, therapists are human beings with their own vulnerabilities, struggles, and imperfections. Despite their expertise in helping others navigate through difficult times, therapists face their own personal and professional obstacles. They may grapple with issues such as relationship difficulties, mental health concerns, or work-related stress, just like anyone else. Therapists having all sorted lives would be like saying heart surgeons never get heart attacks. 

Moreover, the nature of their profession can sometimes intensify these challenges. Therapists are regularly exposed to their clients’ emotional pain and struggles, which can take a toll on their own well-being. Additionally, the pressure to maintain a professional image and uphold a sense of competence may contribute to feelings of inadequacy or imposter syndrome. Recognizing that therapists are not immune to life’s complexities and that they, too, require support. Self-care is essential in dispelling the myth of their supposed perfect lives. By acknowledging their humanity, we can cultivate a more empathetic understanding of therapists and their role in supporting others through their own experience and study of healing and growth.

Therapist assess you for your “Crazy” or “Mental” behaviours

Therapists are trained to understand that experiencing psychological distress is a normal part of the human experience. They recognize that everyone faces challenges and difficulties at various points in their lives, and it’s entirely natural to struggle with emotions, thoughts, or behaviors from time to time. Therapists approach their work with empathy and compassion, seeking to create a safe and supportive environment where clients feel understood and validated. They help clients explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, working collaboratively to develop coping strategies, gain insight, and make positive changes in their lives. While therapists acknowledge the universality of psychological distress, they also recognize that each person’s experiences and responses are unique. They tailor their approach to meet the individual needs and goals of each client, respecting their autonomy and honoring their lived experiences. Through this process, clients can gain a deeper understanding of themselves, find resilience in the face of challenges, and cultivate greater well-being.

Therapists judge you

Ideally, therapists aim to create a safe and nonjudgmental environment where clients can explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of being judged. Therapists are trained to approach their work with empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard, meaning they accept and respect their clients regardless of their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. However, therapists are human too, and they may have their own biases or reactions. Part of their training and ethical responsibility involves recognizing and managing these biases to ensure they don’t interfere with their ability to provide effective therapy. If a therapist finds themselves struggling with judgment or bias towards a client, they are typically trained to explore and process these reactions in supervision or personal therapy to ensure they maintain an open and empathetic stance towards their clients.

All therapists are the same

Therapists vary widely in their approach, background, specialization, and training. We all adhere to ethical and legal standards, but the way we provide treatment can differ greatly. Some therapists work in hospitals, others in office settings, some provide therapy at workplaces, and some offer online counseling. Each therapist may use various therapeutic approaches and techniques to facilitate this process, such as Inner Child Therapy (IC),Family Constellation Therapy, Regression Therapy or Theta Therapy. They may ask probing questions, encourage self-reflection, and offer interpretations to help clients make connections between their thoughts, feelings,body- mind  and behaviors.Therapists provide support, guidance, and expertise, but the ultimate goal is for clients to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and to make positive changes in their lives based on this insight.

No therapist can help you if they haven’t experienced the same thing

Many people think that a therapist needs to have gone through the same struggles to truly help them heal. While it’s natural to want someone who understands your experience, this isn’t the only way to find effective help. Each person is unique, and their experiences are, too. Wanting a therapist who has faced similar issues is often about feeling understood and sharing a common struggle. However, therapists also have training/ study and experience that helps them understand and offer solutions to stressors, benefiting a patient’s growth.

Example : Therapist using family constellation therapy to help a client named Raghav struggling with drug abuse. Though the therapist has never personally experienced drug abuse, their expertise in this therapeutic approach allows them to explore Rahul’s family history and uncover patterns and unresolved conflicts that contribute to his addiction. Through the constellation setup, Raghav visualizes these dynamics and identifies burdens he’s unconsciously carrying, such as a family member’s unprocessed trauma. The therapist guides Raghav in making healing movements, like symbolically handing back these burdens, helping him find a healthier place within his family system. By integrating these insights into his daily life with additional therapeutic techniques, Raghav can break free from destructive patterns, demonstrating that effective therapy relies on the therapist’s knowledge and skill rather than shared personal experience.The advantage of therapist not having a similar experience is that they won’t project their own thoughts and feelings onto your life. Instead, you get to share your unique experience with addiction and what you need to overcome it. Just as therapists aren’t one-size-fits-all, neither is the healing process.

Therapists only care about making money

Becoming a therapist takes years of education, internships, and continued learning to keep up with new treatments and changes in the field. Many therapists are reimbursed below their standard rates by insurance or EAP panels and often hold multiple jobs to meet their financial needs. Therapists are like any other professional charging a certain amount of fees to their service, skills, time and space. You wouldn’t expect doctors or surgeons to perform your surgery for free, right? That is mostly because the results they produce are mostly tangible and quantifiable. In the case of therapists, the issues they work on are mostly intangible and results may take weeks to show up. Therapy is also healing. The amount you pay for the session is an account of how willing you are towards your own healing. 

Many also offer sliding scale fees and pro bono sessions to ensure everyone has access to the help they need. They often experience emotional and psychological challenges due to the nature of their work, yet they persevere because they believe in the power of healing and personal growth. This profession is not just a job but a vocation rooted in empathy, compassion, and a genuine desire to improve the lives of others. The trust and rapport built between therapists and their clients are testaments to their dedication and the meaningful impact they strive to make every day.

Therapy will go on forever

The duration of therapy and the resolution of issues can vary significantly based on several factors. Firstly, the nature and complexity of the issues play a crucial role. Simple, specific problems might be resolved in a few sessions, while deeper, more complex issues can require months or even years of therapy.

Furthermore, client engagement and participation are key. A client’s willingness to actively engage in therapy, complete assignments, and implement changes outside of sessions can greatly impact the pace of progress. The frequency of sessions also matters; more frequent sessions may accelerate progress compared to less frequent ones. Additionally, external factors such as life circumstances and support systems can affect the duration of therapy.

An experienced therapist with specific expertise in the client’s issues may facilitate progress more efficiently. It’s essential to recognize that therapy is individualized, and there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline. The goal is to work collaboratively with the therapist to address issues effectively, at a pace that is comfortable and conducive to lasting change. Ultimately, therapy is a process that unfolds uniquely for each individual, with the therapist guiding and supporting the client along their journey to healing and growth.


It’s crucial to bust the myths about therapists to understand their role better and make mental health support available to all. Therapists have different backgrounds and methods, so finding the right fit matters. While they empathize, their training and commitment are what truly help people heal and grow. They’re here to offer support, teach coping skills, and guide personal growth. Though I’m a therapist, I urge everyone to challenge misconceptions and try therapy for themselves—it might surprise you how helpful it can be. Remember, therapy’s length varies based on the issues and how involved you are. Working together with your therapist is key to making real, lasting changes in your life.

Hope these insights have provided you with a clearer understanding of therapist myths and the workings of therapy. If you’d like to discuss more, feel free to reach out to us at


Natasha Arora, Clinical Psychologist and Research Executive at Treta Foundation and Sonali Mittra, Director, Treta Foundation

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